Ran across this old article on Reddit: Internet Anonymity: A Right of the Past? It’s referencing a draft document for a new Internet protocol that would (attempt to) remove anonymity. Basically, anything you do on the net would be traceable back to you. The article is old, the draft protocol has likely been shelved, and would almost certainly never be deployed. The Reddit comments have some interesting info.
Some implications of this are interesting. I can’t deny that I often think the anonymity of the web is harmful to our society. Any trip to a message board or forum online should suffice to prove this. People act like complete idiots.
Unfortunately, removal of anonymity has too many potential bad effects, like the ability for governments to watch what you’re doing. That’s not impossible for them to do right now, although it’s very expensive. It would get much easier with a protocol like this.
Perhaps the solution for my concerns is self-regulation. Any reputable site/service could require authentication at sign-up. Maybe people would act less idiotic in online games and big sites like Reddit, Digg, Myspace. There would need to be some restriction or penalty for authenticates sites linking to anonymous ones.
This would ultimately lead to 2 separate webs, one that’s anonymous and one that’s not, but I don’t know if that would be a bad thing.